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February 2, 2008

Contact: Dave Score, 305-809-4700, Ext. 233 or 305-395-0778 (cell)

NOAA Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Receives Coastal America Partnership Award

NOAA Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary office received the 2007 Coastal American Partnership Award for its Coral Protection and Restoration Program at a ceremony held at the Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center in Key West, Fla. Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary personnel and partners formed the Coral Protection and Restoration Program after recognizing potential threats to corals from seawall construction and repairs sites, marinas and dock development, and shoreline stabilization projects.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Timothy R. E. Keeney, NOAA’s deputy assistant secretary for oceans and atmosphere, and Virginia K. Tippie, director of Coastal America, were among the dignitaries who participated in the presentation.

Since it’s inception in 2003, the Coral Protection and Rescue Program has rescued more than 7,000 coral colonies, which are relocated to restore depleted areas, used to educate the public, or used for research to protect coral reefs for the future. Some of these specimens have been moved to coral nurseries that will eventually be used to replenish other sites. In other cases, corals are used in the development of baseline genetic banks for use in experiments and comparisons of corals from different geographic regions.

Major partners in the program include the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, the United States Navy, the United States Coast Guard, the Florida Aquarium, the University of Florida, Mote Marine Laboratory, Continental Shelf Associates and local aquaculturist Ken Nedimyer.

Formally established in 1992, Coastal America is a 12 member federal partnership dedicated to sustainable development and coastal ecosystem protection and restoration. Partners at every level - government and nongovernment - commit to shared ideas, expertise, technology, funding and natural laboratories in which resourceful solutions to coastal concerns are inspired, tested and expedited. In 1997, Coastal America established an awards program to recognize outstanding team efforts to restore and protect the coastal environment. Since then, the Coastal America Partners have presented Partnership, Spirit and Special Recognition Awards on an annual basis.

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary protects 2,896 square nautical miles of important marine habitat, including maritime heritage resources, as well as coral reef, hard bottom, sea grass meadows, mangrove communities and sand flats.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 70 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.

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On the Web:


NOAA National Ocean Service:

National Marine Sanctuary Program:

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary:

Coastal America:




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